Another year another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Time, A concept Dementia does not understand. It has no meaning to mom. This year was more of a Mother’s Day weekend for me. Our daughter bought a house. It was our grandson’s birthday. We celebrated Saturday there. How my mother adored Johnathin. She has no idea he is 10 years old.Time brings me back to when he was born at just two pounds. I smile. My daughter and I changing Johnathin and Mom watching. He had hair everywhere. We joked and called him a monkey. My mother did not like it. She protected him. Mom picked him up, held him in her arms and would not put him down. She loves all of her babies. These times are all gone from mom. They don’t exist anymore. Dementia has taken them away. My daughter and I share these stories with Johnathin. He is curious. He asks about her often. One thing he does know is her love. We share these moments in time with him. Dementia cannot take away mom’s love, it’s not a memory.
My youngest daughter Jeanette, took me for breakfast with my husband on Sunday morning. We had a lovely time. One thing dementia has taught me is to live in the moment. Being present is the biggest gift you can give and receive. Etched in my mind as well as my husband’s and daughter’s will be a precious memory. The three of us together talking, sharing a meal, being present. Let’s not forget the beautiful little charms
my baby gave me for Mother’s Day. Purple, she knows they are my favorite color, The symbol for Alzheimer’s. Mom wasn’t there, yet she was. Her love through my daughter to me, timeless.
From there my husband took me to be with mom. There was a communication misunderstanding. It was nice to find my sister Gina and her husband there at the same time as us to visit mom. I walked in and mom had her MP3 headphones on. My sister was not smiling. It was Mother’s Day and the facility was trying to make everything look perfect. Mom was dressed up and as always her hair was beautiful. I guess they decided to clean her wheelchair. What they forgot was to put back the seat cushions, the side cushions and the head support. Mom was very uncomfortable. She’s unable to communicate that but her body movements sure did. She was hunched over, tilted to the side and picking up her legs out of the cushioned foot guards. These are all there for a reason, to keep mom comfortable and safe. I went and got the nurse. She took Mom away to put the cushions back. The Supervising nurse came in. We made him aware of the situation. It’s not the first time. We made it known that we never want to come there again and find mom in this position. Mom came back with the seat cushion but the sides were missing. The supervisor placed pillows around mom to make her comfortable. Now we could move on and enjoy the day. Follow up would be necessary. No one will ever know your loved one as well as you do. You must be present. These little things are important, Be their voice, for they no longer can speak. Be loud when you must. Just like mom did for us when we were young. When we could not speak she knew what to do and so will you. Mom doesn’t speak very much but she loves music. I asked her to sing Michelle My Belle. Her sweet voice singing my name sake song is A treasure. I gave mom purple roses.
She kept reaching for them on the table. I gave them to her to smell. It’s like time standing still, a moment of happiness. Anything that makes her happy makes us happy. You never know what that will be when Dementia comes into the picture. But when it does you feel a sense of joy. You can’t fix this but you can make the best of it. Mom always loved fashion. I was not surprised that my sister and I both gave her new tops to wear for the spring. Mom is not usually interested in gifts anymore but for some reason this year she was. She took each shirt out of the bag, touched them, looked at them. She kept going back to the blue shirt I gave her. My sister laughed because she said she had that in her hand and put it back. We know mom’s taste. Mom hasn’t lost that either. Fashion is a part of Mom, Dementia can’t take that away from her. We won’t let it. I was speaking to my brother-in-law about a computer issue. Mom had not chanted all day. We were so thankful to have a peaceful day with mom. However we got lost in the conversation and mom did not like it. The chanting began. Mom wanted our attention, and she found a way to get it. From that point on we made sure we spent all our time on mom. Next stop over to my niece’s house to see my sister’s grandchildren. They don’t know Nanny Jean. Through our stories they will know her love. The oldest at 4 already does. 17 years, but there are times that stand still. Like the moment we held hands, Mother and daughters. I leave you with this “ If I could save time in a bottle…If words could make wishes come true, I’d save every day like a treasure and then Again, I would spend them with you”. Jim Croce
Mindful Dementia stories Mother’s Day special listen here